Thursday, July 08, 2004

Report Shows Big Drop in Reading in U.S.

Astounding - seems like some things we just can't take for granted anymore.

Only 47 percent of American adults read "literature" (poems, plays, narrative fiction) in 2002, a drop of 7 points from a decade earlier. Those reading any book at all in 2002 fell to 57 percent, down from 61 percent.

NEA chairman Dana Gioia, himself a poet, called the findings shocking and a reason for grave concern.

"We have a lot of functionally literate people who are no longer engaged readers," Gioia said in an interview with The Associated Press. "This isn't a case of `Johnny Can't Read,' but `Johnny Won't Read.'"

The likely culprits, according to the report: television, movies and the Internet.